Let's just say that we had mixed feelings about MSI's BIOS. On the one hand, it has undeniably useful and new features like Green Power, Memory-Z and its Multi-step OC Booster. Its range and host of voltage and clock options are also as fine-grained as many of its top competitors. Yet, it seems to lack some of the basic features that we have taken for granted. One major grouse we had was the lack of an option to flash the BIOS with another version from within the BIOS itself. We also didn't like the fact that onboard jumpers are still needed to change the FSB strap and these options are missing from the BIOS. And as usual, the Help text for the BIOS options are not exactly encyclopedic in explaining what each option does (nor does their manual).
As for overclocking, we could hit 475MHz stable with some minor increases in voltages using the 1.3B2 BIOS (which is a pre-release version that is not available in retail yet) but going any further, we were greeted with random lockups, especially when entering the BIOS. Of course, with the amount of tweaking options available, you could have a field day trying them out but with our limited time with it, it's a decent and fair amount of overclocking, comparable to the Gigabyte GA-EP45T-EXTREME and within distance of the ASUS P5Q3 Deluxe.
With this MSI being our third P45 board, we felt that we had enough boards using this new chipset to remove benchmarks using more mature chipsets like the X38. Hence, we'll be pitting the MSI P45D3 Platinum against the Gigabyte GA-EP45T-EXTREME and ASUS P5Q3 directly. To benchmark these boards, the following hardware configuration will be used for all:
The following benchmarks will be used to determine the performance of the MSI P45 Platinum:-